The Texans made it through an entire season without playing, or trading, quarterback Deshaun Watson. As the 2022 offseason begins, Watson’s status once again moves to the front burner of NFL issues.
G.M. Nick Caserio was asked on Friday for an update as to Watson.
“I think there is going to be a number of things that we talk about during the offseason,” Caserio told reporters. “That particular situation, I don’t think there’s any more clarity today than there was here previously, but we’re going to work through it. Ultimately, we’re going to do what we feel is best for the organization.”
Of course they’re going to do what they feel is best for the organization. Whether they ultimately get the best possible outcome remains to be seen.
The Texans can, in theory, strike a deal now to be finalized on March 16. (Last year, the Rams and Lions did the Stafford-Goff deal on January 30.) That said, the offseason quarterback carousel can’t fully spin until the coaching carousel has finished spinning.
The identity and location of new coaches will make places more or less attracted to or attractive for Watson. Indeed, some think that, if the Texans hire Brian Flores, Watson may choose to stay.
That seems highly unlikely. The relationship between Watson and the Texans went off the rails last year after the Texans promised to involve Watson in the search for a new coach and G.M. and the team failed to consider either of the two coaches he suggested for interviews — Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and 49ers defensive coordinator (now Jets coach) Robert Saleh. Then came Watson’s off-field issues, which quite possibly prompted the Texans to decide to move on from Watson.
Watson ultimately has power over his destination, thanks to his no-trade clause. He’ll possibly have more clarity as to where he’d like to go once the new set of coaches is hired and introduced. Then, even though a trade can’t happen until March 16, the Texans and another team can strike a tentative deal.
Obviously, the off-field issues will continue to hover over the situation. And it will complicate the Texans’ effort to maximize their return for a guy they could have traded last season.